Kia reveals new clutch-by-wire manual gearbox for 48-volt mild hybrids

New manual Kia gearbox removes mechanical clutch for greater efficiency and CO2 reductions

Kia has revealed a new manual gearbox using an electronic linkage for the clutch, rather than a mechanical system, which has been designed for use in the brand’s next fleet of 48-volt mid hybrid cars. 

The system, called intelligent manual transmission (iMT), promises to cut CO2 emissions and boost fuel economy, while the company claims it retains a natural, mechanical clutch pedal feel.

The iMT works alongside the belt driven starter-generator integrated into the powertrain as part of the 48-volt mild hybrid system. Using a system like it means that the stop-start system can cut in to switch the engine off at higher speeds, allowing for longer periods of engineless coasting. 

The chosen gear remains engaged and the clutch opens even with the engine off, so the engine can restart seamlessly in drive when the driver touches the accelerator pedal at the end of a coasting period. The 48-volt system can bring the engine speed instantly back to the correct revs, but if the car has slowed too much and engine speed is too low to resume in the same gear, it can restart the engine in neutral - something it also does if the clutch pedal is pressed.

Kia says the iMT possesses the same operation feel and engagement as a traditional mechanical gearbox, and even has greater controllability of the clutch’s biting point thanks to electrical management. 

The iMT is being launched on Kia models with the new ‘Smartstream’ 48-volt mild hybrid powertrains. The first car to get it will be the latest Ceed in 1.6 CRDi diesel mild hybrid form. It’s also coming to the newly facelifted Rio in 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol form, with more models to receive the iMT transmission later in 2020. 

Do you think Kia's new manual gearbox is a good idea? Let us know your thoughts below...

Recommended

Kia to launch seven new dedicated electric cars by 2027
Kia

Kia to launch seven new dedicated electric cars by 2027

Kia has announced its plans to become a leading electric car manufacturer, with seven new EVs planned for the next seven years
17 Sep 2020
New flagship Kia electric coupe-SUV spotted ahead of 2021 launch
Kia

New flagship Kia electric coupe-SUV spotted ahead of 2021 launch

Kia's electric coupe-SUV with ambitions of taking on the Porsche Taycan for tech has been spied for the first time
28 Jul 2020
New 2020 Kia Carnival MPV revealed
Kia

New 2020 Kia Carnival MPV revealed

Kia’s latest seven-seat MPV gets a bold new SUV-inspired design – but it won't be sold in the UK
26 Jun 2020
Kia plans small electric car to rival Citroen Ami
News

Kia plans small electric car to rival Citroen Ami

Kia's new electric city car would address drivers’ safety fears about travelling on public transport
22 May 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020